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I'm Just Cookin' PDF Print E-mail
Written by Darci Tomky   

Hit the trails

No, I’ve never climbed one of Colorado’s 53 fourteeners (peaks above 14,000 feet), and I don’t even own a pair of hiking boots or stylish khaki-colored hiking shorts. But I do love the mountains, and I’m so thankful I got to grow up witnessing God’s beautiful creation.

Whether we make a trek up Poudre Canyon or explore Rocky Mountain National Park, my family loves hiking. My family also loves to be prepared ... ridiculously prepared. Our backpacks are full of water, jackets, bug spray, sunscreen, band-aids, and of course, snacks.

This summer, skip the gas station candy bars and hit the trails prepared with a handy snack-size bag of trail mix. Or mix some up for your desk at work, road trips, school lunches or summer rec games.

Depending on the way you make it, trail mix can be really healthy! According to a blog on the Food Network website, nuts are a good source of hunger-fighting fiber and heart-healthy fats. Dried fruit contributes natural sweetness as well as more fiber and vitamins to the mix.

Other goodies add a dose of crunch to balance out the flavors and give your mix some extra texture. Crunchy foods also help relieve stress, making trail mix a wise choice to fend off an afternoon slump. (And, in my opinion, sweet treats are always a good addition!)

Of course you can buy pre-packaged trail mix, but the great thing about this snack is you can mix and match for variety and preference! I like the more traditional peanuts, raisins, pretzels and M&Ms, but you could get a little more exciting with a tropical theme, emphasizing things like dried pineapple and lots of seeds.

Chocolate chips might not be the best idea if you’re hitting the trail this summer, but they would be an excellent choice to pair with marshmallows and Golden Grahams cereal for a campfire s’mores mix! Oh the possibilities!

Ever heard of gorp? Maybe it’s a regional thing, but some of you refer to trail mix as gorp. Some say it means the traditional Good Old Raisins and Peanuts while others think it could mean Granola Oats Raisins and Peanuts or Gobs of Raw Protein. Or if you’re from New Zealand, you might call it scroggin, or Sultanas, Chocolate, Raisins and Other Goody-Goodies Including Nuts.

As delicious as trail mix is, you know I can’t resist a good cookie, so I whipped up some trail mix cookies last week. All the best parts of trail mix but in cookie form. Yes, please! I found the recipe in a Betty Crocker cookie cookbook. As with trail mix, you can pick and choose between raisins, M&Ms and peanuts, or you can substitute in your own favorite ingredients.

Trail Mix’n’Match

Step 1: Nuts
Macadamia nuts
Honey-roasted nuts

Step 2: Dried Fruit
Dried apricots
Dried blueberries
Dried cherries
Dried dates
Dried mango
Dried pear
Dried pineapple
Banana chips
Dehydrated apple slices
Step 3: Crunch
Cheerios cereal
Sunflower seeds
Golden Grahams cereal
Chex cereal
Life cereal
Sesame seeds
Wasabi peas
Bagel chips
Kettle corn
Oyster crackers
Goldfish crackers
Crushed potato chips
Beef jerky pieces
Toasted soybeans
Kix cereal
Pumpkin seeds
Cheese-It crackers
Toasted coconut
Step 4: Sweet Treat
Chocolate chips
Peanut butter chips
Reese’s Pieces
Yogurt-covered raisins
Mini marshmallows
Chocoate espresso beans

Dash of Flavor
Chili powder
Cajun seasoning
Melted white chocolate
Cocoa powder
Parmesan cheese

Trail Mix Cookies

1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
1/2 cup shortening
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup old-fashioned or
quick-cooking oats
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups candy-coated
chocolate candies
1 cup peanuts
3/4 cup raisins

Heat oven to 375 degrees. In large bowl, beat sugars, peanut butter, butter, shortening, vanilla and eggs with electric mixer on medium speed until creamy, or mix with spoon. Stir in flour, oats, baking powder and baking soda thoroughly. Stir in candies, peanuts and raisins.

On ungreased cookie sheet, drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls about 2 inches apart; flatten slightly with fork. Bake 9-10 minutes or until light brown. Cool 1 minute; remove from cookie sheet to cooling rack.

Tailor these cookies to suit your taste. It’s OK, for example, to omit the peanuts and increase the raisins or substitute walnuts for the peanuts.

The Holyoke Enterprise July 4, 2013